I feel communication is important, so you guys can get used to how I think and how I plan to operate things here, and so I can tell you some of the thoughts or plans I had and invite feedback. I'm not sure if these 'Letters' are going to be monthly, but I will try and keep you guys updated on a regular basis.
What's happened this month?
Content: First off, after June's spotty record, it was important to me that we had stuff going up every day (except Sundays. Sleep on Sundays). Apart from one Saturday on wargamer and one Monday on PT, we managed that. I'd like to think it was mainly stuff you were used to seeing, but every now and then – mainly through news, I'd throw in something a little bit different. Hopefully you guys like the work we've been doing.
Disclosures: It was important I got this settled from week one. All content associated with a Slitherine Group company will have a disclaimer, pointing people to the relevant information. Unfortunately, my full idea with regards to reviews is a little bit harder to implement than I thought, and requires some dev work. Since we don't have a full-time website guy, it means it has to be put in a pile of things that need doing all in one-go. Value for money and all that.
Forum Features: In a similar vein, these apparently aren't simple to implement. I don't know how Owen did it in the old forums, but we need to get our forum guy to look at this properly before we start tinkering. Unfortunately, he's the 'guy' for the entire group, so as you can imagine he's kept busy a lot. I'll keep you posted on this one.
Writers: I've always felt it's important for people to know who their writers are. Part of the community spirit is us making sure we're always around talking to you guys, answering any questions you have, and basically hanging out. There's been a few departures, and a few new faces. To avoid confusion, the official 'Staff List' as of August 1st, 2016 is:
Matt Thrower (Freelance)
Alex Connolly (On Break)
Fraser Brown (Freelance)
+ Guest Posters, like Prinny
There might be a few names missing that you expected to see. Feel free to email or message me with any questions or concerns you have. I'll try and keep the staff pages up-to-date.
Where do we go from here?
Now that I've started to get settled in, It's time to look forwards. Some things you're going to start seeing in the not-to-distant future:
Preserving the soul of these websites is important, but I also feel there's room for growth along lines that make sense, given where these websites started. Specifically:
Wargamer: You might have noticed we've started doing more table-top content, which is something I want to continue. In general, I want to explore the concept of the 'Wargame' and talk about a variety of different things, but I'm keen not to lose the digital wargame voice as well. I think things like ARMA represent an interesting new angle for features, for example, and of course we've got all of Slitherine et al's output to cover.
Might not be able to do a lot of in depth product coverage on the tabletop side straight away – that's an issue of time and manpower (as well as getting hold of products), but I have some fun ideas I want to try.
Pocket Tactics: Aside from the usual, I'm specifically interested in looking at the emerging CCG market on mobile, as well as mobile eSports. PT is a place of 'expertise' and discussion and I'd like to eventually offer or create a home for people who play those games here, and offer analysis on evolving metas, etc... I will probably avoid Hearthstone generally, since I don't think we can offer anything new there, but starting at the ground-floor with some upcoming titles could be interesting. I'm not ruling HS out completely either as I know a few of the writers play it.
I really enjoyed commissioning and reading Private Prinny's Leviathan piece – it's proof-of-concept of the type of content I want to try and curate. Thing's like Kelsey's Twilight Struggles piece is also fun and interesting, but all of this is people-led, as it's the people who possess all these hours of accumulated knowledge and have genuinely interesting things to say. It will take time to gather said people.
Misc: While we're not a news-centric site like Pocket Gamer, for example, I will be experimenting with news and articles in general in terms of topics, formats etc... so don't be alarmed if you see coverage on something completely new and different. I'm seeing what sticks.
Maybe you're interested in some of the things I've just talked about, maybe you're not. The only thing I can say is that I do need to attract new audiences somehow, but you need to trust that I won't let the content you know and love slip. If you feel I'm not holding to that, feel free to email me.
Not much to say here, as you can't really 'manufacture' a community. It kind of just happens, or it doesn't. I do want to give you the features you requested though, and perhaps add in more toys to make hanging-out on the forums more enjoyable. Maybe even a real-time chat client? We have a feedback & requests area, so make sure you use it if you have an idea.
Beyond that, making sure the tournaments are supported, and giving you guys more chances to win stuff seem like things we can easily invest in. Rob's doing a great job of shepherding the tournament threads, and I'm willing to help where I can. If you tournament folk have any ideas you think would specifically help, let me know.
Part of my job is making sure I can give Tof, James et al fair compensation for all their hard-work and keep the lights on. Advertising, affiliate partnerships... these are all things that I'll be working on in the background. I will be looking into alternative revenue streams eventually, but I will talk more about that when I actually have something to talk about.
If you want to help out here, there are two specific things you can do:
- Turn off Ad-Block, or at least 'White List' Pocket Tactics & Wargamer.
- If we're talking about a game you were thinking of buying anyway, and we've provided a link to it, please consider clicking that link to go the store, instead of going separately.
If you have any questions about any of the above, or any thoughts you'd like to share, feel free to post here or send me an email – joer [at] wargamer [dot] com
Here's to the next few months!